With our GPS Navigator loaded with both the proper road maps and with the alerts for the radars fixes (speed cams), we hopped into the car and headed to Bologna, the food capital of Italy, and home to almost 400,000 inhabitants. The GPS Navigator was great at sounding an alert for the radars fixes, by announcing aloud, “Favorites Alert !”, anytime we came near one. The only problem was … we forgot to heed attention. We got zapped in the last tunnel out of France on the A8. The flash of the camera was very obvious in the dark tunnel. So, now we’ll just have to wait and see if we receive a speeding ticket in the mail. We can only hope that the flash of the camera wasn’t really meant for us. We’ll see…
Arcades of Bologna
Four hours after we left Antibes, we drove into Parma, where we had a great lunch at a little out-of-the-way restaurant called Il Cortile (borgo Paglia 3 – tel: 0521 285 779). Another hour after leaving Parma, we finally made it to Bologna, where we arrived into a city of beautiful arcades (covered walkways) - around 40 kilometers of arcades to be almost exact. They were great for staying out of the hot summer sun, and I can imagine that they would be great for keeping dry on rainy days, and they are just beautiful to look at. The Hotel Internazionale was perfectly situated so that we could just go across the street each morning to run in the quiet Giardini della Montagnola, and it was a straight shot from the hotel down Via Indipendenza under the lovely arcades to where all the action was at Piazza Maggiore.
Piazza Galvani in the Shadow of the Basilica di S. Petronio
We saw many beautiful piazzas where lingering over an espresso and people-watching were the order of the day, but the main gathering place seemed to be the combination of Piazza del Nettuno and Piazza Maggiore, which are two separate piazzas that are kind of linked together to form the vibrant social core of the city. The University of Bologna is considered the oldest University in Europe, and its 100,000 or so students contribute considerably to the liveliness of the scene.